Self-Conscious And Loving It!

Finding Yourself Out the Front of Your Life

Recently I asked a friend for feedback on an aspect of my behaviour. I badgered her. She deflected. I badgered again. She gave in and chose her words with care. And horror of horrors I did not like what I heard. I reckon I did a pretty good job of appearing nonchalant. On the inside however I was reeling. Rapidly re-evaluating my entire life from this new perspective, I shifted from disbelief, anger, denial and sadness in 30 seconds. Then I stuffed myself with cheese and crackers.

What I noticed over the next few weeks was how self-conscious I felt. I wondered if everyone I’d ever met saw this flaw and judged me accordingly. Ha! I thought. This explains a lot. I suspected I had a problem. Here is the proof!

The problem gained epic proportion while I shrunk and fell through a hole in the floor.

Not So Special

Feeling self-conscious is being aware of yourself, as yourself. It’s a good thing. Means you are alive and you have the conscious awareness to know it! Self-consciousness allows you to perceive your similarity and difference to everyone else.

So yes, you are special and no, you are not so special. We all have an inner tension between wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out from the crowd. You see this tension played out on social media. And sometimes you feel it first hand when you are up there speaking in public. You up there, them down there.

I’ve briefly defined self-consciousness. But what about how it feels? The pain, the loneliness, the rejection? The dredging of all that old stuff you thought you’d successfully buried? And bugger it but there it all is, back on public display, reflected in the pitying eyes of your listeners.

But is it pity? Or is it relief that it’s you, not them, up there? Could it be admiration, that you are doing something they could not? Or, might they be thinking about dinner, and not you at all?

Safety Versus Risk

When you speak in front of others you do stand out from the crowd. And there is risk in being rejected for standing out. Finding your peace and place within this balance is the mysterious realm in which I work with my clients.

When you speak to a group, you visibly and energetically set yourself apart from the herd. Speaking up requires courage. The courage to show yourself to others. When people listen to you speak, they want to hear, you. Not a perfect cardboard cut-out. Not a series of excuses. You.

Embrace Wabi-Sabi

I love the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. It means “beauty is in the imperfection.” Doncha reckon there’s our Permission Card right there? Flaws are beautiful! Ergo, we are all beautiful! There is nothing more boring than perfection.

People relate to flaws, not to perfection. We love to witness transformation; it gives us the courage to pursue our own. We watch people take risks, stick their heads above the parapet and wait with baited breath – will they rise to the challenge? And what can we learn from their mistakes and successes?

Self-consciousness is our opportunity to mature, learn, expand. It’s OK to be fearful, but not OK to stay stuck forever, clinging to an outdated notion of how you wanted things to be.

The Spotlight Effect

Positive Psychology describes the Spotlight Effect as the belief that others are always looking and judging us. As if we are the centre of their universe… because we are the centre of ours. Feeling self-conscious blossoms with such fertile imaginings. You can read more in my related Blog article “The Spotlight Effect is On You.” The Spotlight Effect clues us in as to how to love the opportunity of feeling self-conscious by learning from it, rather than shrink with fear and shame.

The Self-Conscious Seagull Flies Again

When I crawled off to lick my wounds, I really invested in feeling sorry for myself. I could be my own 10-part mini-series. Pride. Drama. Pain. And finally, seeing myself on A Hero’s Journey, triumphing over the perils of self-consciousness to emerge an older, wiser and infinitely more attractive human.

This could go on and on or we could cut to the chase with a story that doesn’t involve so much gut wrenching drama. Or copious cheese and crackers.

I emerged from my hole after a few weeks and realised:

  • Much of what my friend said is true. I needed a hefty dollop of self-acceptance for my quirky behaviours. They can’t really be changed. And they make me unique. I like unique.
  • If you ask for feedback, you have to be prepared to hear it. Suck it up princess!
  • Good old Gratitude… works every time to appreciate what I’ve got, rather than what I haven’t.

A Work In Progress

Am I going to divulge my friend’s feedback to you since you’ve so patiently read to the end of this article?

No way!

Just because you share a personal story doesn’t mean you have to strip your soul bare. You don’t have to expose everything. Just the bits you are ready to.

When it’s your turn to be out the front, whether for 5 minutes or for 5 days, breathe in and connect to your purpose in making a difference when you speak. We really are Works in Progress. And I know I’m not alone in wanting to hear and see the real you. To admire your unique beauty, imperfections, quirks and all.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, All Rights Reserved. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Morph Your Speech Into Song

Monetise Your Message

The Shangri-La of many wanna-be speakers is to get paid for speaking in public and reach a wider audience. In addition to the standard keynote speech, there are many ways to monetise your message.

For instance, turn your crafted words into a workshop, published article, teleclass, MP3 audio file, or what about morphing your speech into song?

Take a look at this video of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s famous “Misogyny Speech”, named “Not Now, Not Ever”. It has been set to music and the Australian Voices choir breathes new life into an already powerful viral message, extending its influence and life span:

Apart from the fact that I love to break into melodramatic song and interpretive dance to keep listeners on the edge of their seat before they fall off it, you can also send your message out into the world via YouTube and iTunes.

Gimicky? Maybe. Creative? Definitely. Memorable? You bet.

Next time you put a speech together, think about creative ways to monetise your message and keep being heard, over and over again in different formats.

To make your next speech creative, memorable and lasting, contact Geraldine.

(c)2014, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

The Art Of Making An Entrance

How do you make your presentation memorable and stand out in a long day of conference speeches?

“Da Daa!” Introducing, YOU!

And in you come dancing to a funky soundtrack, boa feather trailing behind, your newly shaved head reflecting the strobe lights… is this the kind of big entrance you’d like to make when you give a presentation? Yes, you will be memorable unless of course your colleagues also read this article and boa feather sales go through the roof. Ok, I digress.

Here’s a 3 minute video I made about how to engage the attention of your listeners from the very get-go:

 

Making An Entrance

Making an entrance is about engaging attention from the start. When an audience’s attention is engaged, they will listen. And they will remain listening as long as you follow it up with valuable content. And when I say “don’t be shy”, I mean, don’t diminish yourself and play small.

Apart from my fun suggestion above, I recommend you focus on creating CONNECTION with your audience first, before you even open your mouth. If you take the time to take a breath with your listeners and be present with them, you will immediately make an impact. Strange as it may seem, old fashioned audience acknowledgement is a simple courtesy always appreciated. Bit of a nod, eye contact, a smile. Costs nothing, takes a minute or so, generates credibility, respect and attention.

What Do You Want To Be Remembered For?
Begin preparing your next speech by asking yourself this foundational question. Your answer will determine the clarity with which you deliver your speech to conference delegates.

Let me give you some practical examples – do you want to be remembered for:

  • An inspiring vision that generates new thoughts in your industry?
  • Being an entertaining and informative speaker that brings joy to a heavy program?
  • Providing cutting edge data to benefit the practice of colleagues?
  • To develop your profile and expand your career influence and opportunities?

Being clear about what you want your speech to be remembered for is similar to being clear about your purpose. Both act like a rudder, steering your speech and audience on an impactful journey toward a powerful conclusion.

What You Can Do

  1. Put time aside to research practical things like how many people will attend, where you’ll stand, microphones, if you’ll be introduced and what they’ll say, so that you’ll set up your speech confidently from the start.
  2. You are “on” as soon as your name is called. Don’t slink in, pretending to be lost in intellectual thought or your notes!
  3. Roll your shoulders gently back, head and chest up, and take a strong, stable stance with room to move.
  4. Establish your physical and energetic presence by taking some breaths with your audience. You are saying non verbally: “I see you, I hear you and I’m with you.” This initial  acknowledgement to the audience is memorable in itself because its still so rare.
  5. Practice your speech; include the the timing for your entrance, exit and pauses and even pfaffing around with your powerpoint slides. Ask friends for feedback and record or film yourself. Are there any flat or confusing moments? Is there too much detail or not enough? Is your message clear and memorable?

To make a long term, memorable impact when you speak, you need to understand and deliver what your audience really wants – connection and value. If you can do these two things, you will be a memorable stand-out in the conference program from the start.

© 2012, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Speak About What Makes You, Different

Name Your Point Of Difference At Networking Events

Picture this: you are at a networking event. Perhaps it’s a lunch, a book launch or a conference. Amongst others, there are 4 naturopaths, 2 real estate agents and 3 life coaches. You need their services, but how do you choose and what’s the difference between them?

And that’s the crucial question.

In today’s market, there are an overwhelming variety of services and products from which to choose. Creating a unique Point Of Difference (POD) is a strategic way to make your product or service stand out and be noticed.

Generally, people choose their service and product providers based on:

  • Whether they instantly like and trust you, more so than the others.
  • If they immediately understand what you offer and it’s what they need.
  • If they have a recommendation from a friend, so the process of trust has begun.
  • Regularly seeing and hearing you and your marketing so that it feels “familiar”.

To help potential clients recognise your Point Of Difference, build these 4 pathways:

  1. Learn public speaking techniques to build authentic trust, rapport and presence.
  2. Be able to clearly articulate in 30 seconds your Point Of Difference.
  3. Build cross-referrals with related practitioners and make sure existing clients understand all that you do. Don’t forget the most obvious: ask good clients for referrals.
  4. Create a consistent marketing message in a variety of media and share value added information to educate and inform. This builds your credibility and brand so that you become known as the familiar subject expert.

Finally, ask yourself:
Would you choose you?

If your answer is “no” and you don’t have these four pathways clearly laid out, take the time to work out your unique Point Of Difference. If you don’t know what makes you stand out from your competitors, then neither will your clients and they may choose someone else.

Find your authentic voice and message and you will have created your unique Point Of Difference.

© 2009-2011, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

How To Create A Compelling 30 Second Self Introduction

Be Short And Sweet

We live in a society with advert-length attention spans. You can grab that attention by creating a short personal ad also known as a 30 second self introduction. 

One of my bugbears occurs at functions when the harassed facilitator pleads: “Now we’ve got a lot to cover today, so please give a brief 30 second self introduction.”  Before long, someone grabs 4 minutes of “Me Me Time” at everyone’s expense.  A new trend begins of 4, 5, 6 minute mind numbing self-introductions.

I used to think such people were insensitive, selfish and can’t follow direction.  As a veteran function-attender, I’ve gleaned the true reasons for self introducers who rave and ramble. And that’s because they:

  • don’t know how to structure a succinct self introduction.
  • simply are so nervous about speaking, they blank out and ramble.
  • are totally unprepared and have no idea what they are doing there.
  • really are insensitive, selfish and can’t follow direction!

Key Benefits Of A 30 Second Self Introduction

  • Good First Impression – more work upfront means less work long term.
  • Less Is More – keep your words clutter-free will make you easier to understand.
  • Being Succinct – shows respect for other people’s time and this is always appreciated.

Most people want to get a sense of who you are and what you can do for them, before they want to know your name.  And if they are interested in what you offer, they are likely remember your name.  So think about Them first, not You, when you give a 30 second self introduction.

Introduce Yourself With Ease and Grace To

  • Quickly establish rapport and open a connection.
  • Give an ‘elevator” speech and create an opportunity.
  • Make a powerful impression that gets you noticed.

It’s a good idea to have a few self-intro’s up your sleeve, because you don’t want to sound like a broken record and because everybody, every situation and everyday is different. Here’s what to include in your little personal ad plus my examples:

1. Describe the benefit of what you do for others (not your title or process.)
2. Use visual, graphic examples to which people can easily relate.
3. Give your name.

Examples: Be Intriguing, Not Boring

  • ” I help people find their toes. I’m Wendy and I help people lose weight. “
  • ” You know how some people look 20 years older than they really are? Well I fix that.  I’m an anti-aging specialist and my name is Sammi. “
  • ” I’m the person that people call when the wheels have come unstuck in their life and they want to do something about it. I help people get back on track with a 12 week program. My name is Lou and I’m an accredited Counsellor. “

Be intriguing and not boring by creating your very own 30 second self introduction. Don’t forget to practice with a Timer and include smiles and pauses in the 30 second time limit. Grab those short attention spans before they pass you by.

© 2011-18, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au